Kansas has been a progressive voice in the struggle for civil rights since it entered the Union as a “free state” in 1861. Abilene, Kansas, was home to President Dwight D. “Ike” Eisenhower who served in office during a time of rapid change for civil and human rights in America. He was responsible for desegregation in areas of federal authority, championed the first civil rights legislation in 80 years, and enforced the Supreme Court’s ruling in the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. To learn more about President Eisenhower’s impact on history, visitors can explore the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum & Boyhood Home in Abilene.
Topeka, Kansas, was placed center stage in the Civil Rights Movement through the landmark court ruling of Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. Today, you can visit the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in the former Monroe Elementary School and gain context and understanding of the plight and perspective of those who challenged the nation’s “separate but equal” mindset and championed school integration against all odds.